Pike County Firefighters ready

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 27, 2001

to purchase fire safety house


Staff Writer

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A future purchase by the Pike County Firefighters Association could save the lives of children.

In an effort to educate children on the dangers of fire and how to escape a house fire, the Association is planning to purchase a fire safety house.

Most fire deaths could have been prevented with a little knowledge and that is what area firefighters want to do.

The Association has been raising funds to purchase a fire safety house, which will be used as an educational tool to teach children how to handle a fire emergency.

Recent donations from State Sen. Wendell Mitchell, D-Luverne, and State Rep. Alan Boothe, D-Troy, put the Association in position to go ahead and make the purchase, although they will have to borrow some money. Firefighters are still raising money so they can pay back the loan and will have money for necessary maintenance of the fire safety house.

"We still need the help of Pike County for the upkeep of the fire safety house," said Robert Catrett, vice president of the Firefighters Association.

The fire safety house the Pike County Firefighters Association plans to purchase costs about $25,000.

At this point, the Pike County Firefighters Association is ready to bid the house, which will take about three months before it is delivered.

"It will probably be here in September," Catrett said, adding it will be available for demonstrations at schools, churches and other organizations at no cost. If a department outside of Pike County asks to use it, they will be charged a rental fee.

Johnny Gibson, president of the Pike County Firefighters Association, said the safety house will be "an impressive thing" that will go far toward educating young people about the danger of fire.

The handicapped-accessible houses are equipped with telephones so a child can practice calling 911, smoke generators so they can learn to crawl to safety and heating elements for the doors so a child can learn to touch a door before opening it.

They also have cameras and a VCR so actions of children can be recorded and played back to illustrate what was done correctly and what could have harmed them.

Such houses can save lives, Catrett said.

A young child in North Alabama was able to save himself because he knew what to do during a house fire.

"A fire safety house is not just something to play with, it’s something to save lives," Catrett said.

He said statistics indicate the need for fire safety education.

Nationwide, 5,000 people are injured or killed in fires, Catrett said, adding many of them are small children who get scared, hide and die in the blaze.

While fires can be prevented by being cautious, lives can be saved through education.

Anyone who would like to help the Pike County Firefighters Association save lives through education, can make donations for the fire safety house by sending checks to P.O Box 222, Troy, AL 36081 or calling the Association office at 566-0481.